Sunday, August 28, 2011

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

This past week was a roller coaster ride of emotions. I think I experienced every possible emotion, except for tears...which shouldn't surprise anyone!I LOVE my job...which also shouldn't shock anyone. I don't think I've ever spent my time doing something I didn't love. I wake up before my alarm and lay awake at night thinking about all the possibilities for tomorrow. Yes, I know, that won't last long. But, for now, I am all fired up!

First Day of my teaching career!
However, I have had things on my mind besides school. As usual, I over analyze everything and don't know how to turn my mind off. I met up with an old friend this week to catch up on life. We both had tons to say. We were talking about plans, big goals for the future. Mine didn't at all surprise this person. The only thing that surprised them was that I hadn't acted on those plans yet. I had a laundry list of reasons why I hadn't. Yet, every one I mentioned, they fired back a counter excuse. 

I changed the subject, but I've been thinking about it quite a bit since. Not so much that excuse, but the whole slew of them I create on a regular basis. Today, I admitted to myself I am a master excuse maker and excuse taker. Not only do I make them for myself, but for others, too. I'm forever extending the benefit of the doubt and wearing myself out trying to be the 'be all' for everyone else. And, for what purpose? What do I get out of those excuses? A feeling of authority over myself coupled with a disappointment later. Not worth it. 

My mini goal for this week is to leave the excuses at home when I leave in the morning. I will take on every situation in stride, and encourage others to do the same. Life is full of opportunities for happiness, we just have to be willing to take them. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Very First Classroom

Playing teacher in momma's office. 

This post has been a long time in the making. When I was younger, my parents kept a Norman Rockwell book with an annual rundown of the child we were that year. Every  year since 1st grade, my future profession has been teaching. The grade level I dreamed of teaching has changed, but the dream itself is still the same. 

I have been hoarding classroom necessities forever. Finally, I have a use for them. I am teaching 6th grade science this year. I could not be more thrilled. I really like the first year of middle school, and I LOVE teaching science. I can't wait for what this year has in store. 

People have been begging to see pictures of my classroom. It took much longer to get it ready than I thought it would. I still have quite a bit to do, but this is basically what it will look like. 

 I covered my bulletin boards with fabric. Fabric absorbs some of the echo (which is a huge problem in my room), and holds up better than butcher paper. I cut out the letters for the board from Science magazines. 

I used zebra print duct tape to separate the boards. My clock came from Target, and I made the 'Agenda' letters using scrapbook paper. The Christmas tree was left behind by the previous teacher, and I WILL leave it up year around on account of my love for Christmas! I've had these rope lights hanging in my room at my parent's house since I was in 7th grade...they still work.

My Science wordle has been the topic of many a discussion. I created it using the Texas standards for 6th grade science and designed it using It's fabulous!

 The demonstration table didn't get painted with the rest of the room. I actually like it unpainted...kinda vintage. 

I do not know how to sew, but I sure did hot glue these curtains together myself! It's amazing how much of a difference the window treatments made!

The WOW wall is my favorite. My sister modgepodged the letters for me. The Caution idea came from Pinterest...imagine that. The sign says "Under Construction: Awaiting Student Work" Can't wait to display my student work and take the sign down!

I feel like this chair speaks for itself!!

 I teach regular and Pre-AP Science. Regular and Pre-AP will have separate folders. This wall will help students keep track of their make up work. There is a file folder for each day of the week. Their make-up assignments will be in the designated day folder with their name on it. I had to have my beloved zebra print in here somewhere!
 Door decor...vital! The letters are elements spelling 'Science Matters'. 
This is my personal corner! I know I'll be first to arrive and last to leave fairly frequently, so I need a comfy space where I'm likely to work. 

Let's Play I SPY: Can you find all the items I picked up at garage sales?

1. Lamps...$12 for all of them
2. Turquoise Chair...$3
3. Bumble Bees and Butterflies...$5 for all
4. Metal Mailbox...$5
5. White file caddy...$1
6. Picture frames...50 cents
There are more items not pictured

I also collected an area rug from a teacher friend! Making friends is the BEST resource!!!

I have had so much fun putting my room together. I never would have imagined it would take so long. I couldn't have done it without the help of my sweet friend Ashley. She has done so much for me! She is going to make a great teacher!

Now, my classroom is ready, and I am onto lesson planning. There is so much I want to accomplish and so many ways I want to teach the material. I just have to remember what my pops said..."You will never get it all done. You will always think of one more thing you could have done. Do your best, but don't expect perfection"

After all, “Striving for excellence is healthy. Striving for perfection is neurotic.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Potential in Everything

Ok, so I haven't been so good at blogging lately. I've been so busy enjoying all of Life's Simple Pleasures!

Let me tell you, my most recent fascination has become garage sales. My sister and I have been going on Saturday mornings for the past month. We're becoming experts! We know the best neighborhoods to scout and we have even become the creepers who do the slow drive by to decide whether a house is worth the 'park and mosey'. I have found so many great things! All of my finds have already been useful in my new home or my classroom. I've saved so much money, and all my finds tell a story. 

My favorite part about garage sale-ing is the adventure my sister and I share every weekend. We anxiously pile in the car talking about the things we would like to find. When we get out at the first few places, we find nothing on our list and tons of useless items that suddenly have a special place in our lives. We rave over the bargains we are finding and plan out the use of our new found treasures. We drive around until there is either no more room in the backseat or until we are out of energy. Then, we drive home and distribute all our loot on the dining room table to show our parents. You'd think it was Christmas every weekend at our house!

I've learned a thing or two from garage sale-ing. 

  1. Everything is valuable, we just may not see it's value right now. Many of the garage sales we have gone to are overflowing with kid's clothes and toys. We aren't to that stage in life. But, we already have plans to garage sale together when we are at that stage. 
  2. Some things take up more space than they are worth, and occasionally, it is time to purge. I'm the worst at holding onto things...not just material things, but emotional things too. I'm afraid to let them go for 'sentimental reasons.' What if I need them some day down the road? I'm learning that there will always be something else to take that space. It's not efficient to be overcrowded physically or mentally. We have to learn to let go. 
  3. Most importantly, there is beauty to be found everywhere. Sometimes we find the most useless items that are worn and dilapidated. However, with a little time and creativity, they can be remade into the perfect pieces. You have to learn to look past the exterior. You have to use your imagination to see potential that isn't always easy to find. You have to invest in the brokenness to enhance the initial beauty. I think this fact is true in life. Often times, we come across people who appear to be worthless, a waste of our time. Sometimes, they just need someone to invest in them to tell them they are worth it. We have to help them see their potential and give them the tools to rebuild themselves. Sometimes, the process is tedious, but in the end, totally worth it!

I challenge you to look for the beauty in something or someone that appears broken around you. What can you do to enhance the hidden potential?